Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Operation Simplify 2010

So, another new year is upon us. I do not actually 'celebrate' the new year, nor do I make New Years resolutions. My year actually starts in the fall with the Hebrew calendar, but January first is a great time to try to get the ball rolling.

For me, I want 2010 to be the Year of Simplify. Nice and vague, eh?

What does this mean? To get started, let's define Simplify: 
A verb, used with object, "To make less complex or complicated; make plainer or easier: to simplify a problem.

Isn't that what life is supposed to be about? Enjoying family, friends, the SIMPLE things in life?

So how does one go about starting something like Operation Simplify? Certainly making lists, tons of goals and plans really defeats the purpose now doesn't it?

So I shall start small and make mini goals in all aspects of life. 

January's Goals:

  • Simplify Cooking: Crock Pot meals, using leftovers, if it takes longer than 30 minutes prep I don't wanna do it!
  • Simplify Selling Online: Focus shops on the things that do sell, and be ready to abandon ideas that don't pan out. 
  • Simplify Schedule: Plan 1 playdate/park trip per week for kids!
Anyone want to join me in Operation Simplify 2010? What ways do you want to make your life more simple and in turn more enjoyable? 

What simple and easy things in life do you enjoy?

I plan to share little tidbits and simple solutions to ways you can enjoy your new year also!

Be Simple!

 Henry David Thoreau

My Faves: Violet

Purple is one of my fave colors...I sense I'll be making more spotlights featuring purple!

Monday, December 28, 2009

My Faves: Black and White--Cafemom Team

Enjoy these black and white beauties from the Cafemom Team!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

My Faves: Brown and Neutrals

I'm trying to get back to doing my fave things posts!! This week, Browns and Neutrals!! Enjoy!


Friday, December 25, 2009

Spotlight: Winter Wonderland

Today's spotlight is "Winter Wonderland". Although it's not snowy where I am, I hope you enjoy the snow if you are blessed (or cursed?) with it!

Year End Inventory and What's Coming for Mama's Little Monkeys

What a year! I'm amazed that I've had more success in my shops than I imagined! All thanks to faithful customers and new customers willing to take a risk on a Mama just trying to make her way in the handmade world!

Year's end has meant inventory so Mama's Little Monkeys remains closed on both Etsy and Artfire. You can still find some of my sewn goodies on the two Congo's I'm in, Nature's Toy Chest and The Apple Orchard.

I've competed the inventory in my soap shop, Amelia Amos and am happy to say there are plenty of Saint's soaps ready to go! There are some new items in Amelia Amos including soap samples for your business, Sniff cards to find out what fragrances you really like, and a 2.00 grab bag of oops and discontinued soaps! Be sure to check out the PIF Bath Salts tutorial also available!

Destash City is also back open and ready to help you get crafty in the new year!

What's Coming for the Shops!?

Amelia Amos: Many more fleur de lis color combos. I'm loving the fleur de lis soaps and that will be my main focus for the new year. Do you have a favorite color/scent combo you'd like to see in Amelia Amos? Let me know and I'll see what I can concoct!

Destash City: Many more fabric yo yo and button combo's so you can create your own hair clips, buttons, bobby pins and more! More appliques will be added also, as I get caught up on things!

Mama's Little Monkeys: Rearranging of the Etsy and Artfire shops are still being thought out, but expect a major sale to clear out inventory! In the sewing room right now: More rocket ships, Red Heel Sock Monkeys, Japanese Knot bags for you knitters out there and more wetbags to go in The Apple Orchard!

What new items are you working on? What new items would you like to see? Who's your favorite handmade artisan who you can't wait to see more from?


Friday, December 18, 2009

Another Year Almost Over..

Wow. Another year is almost done. We are literally about to start 2010! It just can't be. Yet it is!

It's been quite a year for me! This time last year I was getting the wonderful news that I did NOT have Multiple Sclerosis as I had been told I did months before. (Guess I just have odd things on my brain, no surprise.) Overall our family's health has been good and we had some changes.

Most importantly Eli was diagnosed with autism, explaining a lot of things about him. He's done well on the GFCF diet and it's a relief to know what is wrong. He's very high functioning (which can be a downfall at times because people just think he's a bad behaved child in the midst of a tantrum.) and he shows great potential for 'recovery'. The downside of all that is our insurance company didn't cover any of his testing so we're back in debt again.

But there is absolutely no room for complaining! Even though money is super tight, Paul has a job, and if need be I have no doubt God will help me find one. My businesses have the potential of actually helping supplement our income instead of just a hobby. We have a home, our health, family and friends.

We don't actually celebrate Christmas in our house, but I understand how it makes many people feel, more open to appeciating the things they have. So I challenge you to really sit back and look at what blessings you have and give thanks for them. Give your family a hug, learn to appreciate the possessions you DO have and not lust after things you don't need (trust me, this one is hard!) and enjoy the little things in life!

How was your year?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Monkey is Named......

Monkity Flake!! SediluGreen is the lucky winner! I loved all the suggestions but I just could not pass up "Monkity" It sounded like something my son would say and how can you top a monkey named by a little boy!?

Thanks so much everyone!! Keep an eye out, I'll be doing a giveaway every month for glass tile pendants!!

Monkity Flake:

Friday, December 4, 2009

Name This Monkey!!

This is my latest sock monkey. She needs a name. We don't celebrate Christmas in our house, but she's very wintry, what with the snowflakes and furry pom poms and all.

But she needs a name. Do you have a suggestion? If so, leave it in the comments here! If your suggestion is chosen (leave as many as you'd like) you will a super cool new scrabble tile or glass tile pendant! (My other new addiction). Don't worry, you'll get a choice of pendant, I"m cool like that...

So leave your guesses here!

It's a girl monkey, nothing rude, nothing crude and nothing Christmasy!

Yes, I am aware she has super long legs and shorter arms. She doesn't know that. She believes she is one hot monkey, so let's not burst her bubble. Therapy for monkeys is expensive...

Super cool pendants you could win one of:

Contest ends...ehh when I've decided the perfect name has been found. Why? Because I can.

~~Mama Monkey

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Recycled Crayons Tutorial

I thought I would share some tutorials every month or so! This month's tutorial is recycled crayons. Sure they've been done plenty of times, but I thought I'd give it my own spin! :) Special Thanks to AEBABY for suggesting this one!

Gather your materials, here are my suggested ones:
Crayola Crayons. Do not skimp on this. Non Crayola's will smell, not melt well and not work well.
Exacto Knife
Silicone mold
Plastic Soap Mold (optional)
Aluminum Cans (optional)
Aluminum foil
Baking Sheets

  • Peel your crayons. If you don't have a small child handy to do this for you, use the exacto knife to cut a slit down the crayon paper. If it is a pain to pull the paper off, cut the slit, then put the crayons in the freezer for about 30-60 minutes. The paper should pop right off then!

  • Break the crayons and put them in the mold. If you are using a silicone mold you can just fill your mold with the broken crayons. If you want a multi colored crayon, mix them together. I'll show you how to do solids or layers in a bit!

  • Set your oven to approx. 325-350F. Silicone molds can go directly in the oven, but because of their flexibility, you probably want to put the mold ON a baking sheet for stability. This is particularly important if you are doing layers.
  • Melt the crayons in the oven, checking them every 5 minutes or so. You want them melted but not TOO hot. Once you see nearly all the crayons are completely melted, your crayons are done!

  • Let the crayons cool until completely hard and then, pop them out of the mold!! If you choose to use a metal pan, you would want to spray the pan lightly with cooking spray so the crayons slide out easier. This is one of the reasons I prefer the silicone molds--plus they come in way more fun shapes!!


  • Now say you want to do solids or layered crayons, or use a plastic soap mold? No problem! Gather your aluminum cans (like the ones that hold vegetables). Clean, rinse and remove the paper label. Break your crayons and separate the colors in each can.

  • The color you melt in your cans will stain the can, so once you put a color in a can, it's staying that color! So save them for future use!
  • Put the cans on the baking sheets (you can do this at the same time you do a silicone mold) and heat for the same time, 5 minutes at a time @ 325-350 degrees until the crayons are totally melted.

  • Using your OVEN MITTS pour one color into the plastic soap molds at a time. Allow the crayons to cool SLIGHTLY before pouring, but not so long that they start to harden again. Put your soap mold on top of wax paper, aluminum foil, etc just in case the crayons melt the plastic and it leaks. (Which is why you wait until they cool a little.)

  • It's okay if it spills just a tad, you can easily 'carve' the extra off your finished crayon once it hardens. Or get every little use out of it and let your little ones color the extra away!
  • Once the colors harden just turn the soap mold over and GENTLY tap the crayons out. If you hold the mold too far above your counter/table they'll crack as they fall out and hit the hard surface. 

And there you go! Solid colored car crayons!

  • If you want layered crayons, all you need to do is take a deep mold like a silicone mold. Melt the crayons in the cans as above. Pour a layer in your silicone mold. Let each layer harden before you melt and pour another! The hardest part of layered crayons is to pour the colors very carefully into the silicone mold so it does not splash up. If you pour slowly and carefully you will get clean, uniform, layered crayons!

Feel free to leave any questions, comments or share this tutorial!


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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Renewal Experiment Results...

Okay. I hate numbers. I need an accountant! Thankfully my friend AvalonStudios helped me run these numbers and I trust her! :) So go check her shop out because without her mad math skills, this experiment would have died out!

Alrighty, in case you've forgotten here was my plan.
Renew the SAME item on Etsy at various times of the day for 1 month. I ended up skipping every Saturday because that's my 'churchin' day and I didn't want to turn into a pumpkin for doing work on the Sabbath. But it all evened out to more than 30 renewals because I listed new stuff on occasion also.

Now these are numbers ONLY from my Mama's Little Monkeys Etsy shop. TECHNICALLY my sales went up on Detash City also, BUT I can't prove it was from the renewal without drowning in hellish data from Google Analytics and honestly there's not enough vodka to make me do that. So since the test was really ONLY for the MLM Etsy shop, that is what we'll look at.

I started on 10/25/09 and went until 11/25/09. I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised. I started selling more nearly as soon as I started renewing.
Here's the rundown:

Total Sales Without Shipping (as shipping is not profit):                   166.00
Total Fees (not shipping but, relisting, renewing, transaction fees):        25.08
Total "Profit":                                                                                        140.92

That looks great to me.

At first.

Here's the thoughts on this:

  • It cost me 25 bucks to run that ONE Etsy shop for the 30 day period.
  • It costs me, well, zero to run my MLM Artfire shop because I write for HandmadeNews and get a free verified account. I do pay for my Destash shop on Artfire. For ten bucks a month for 2010. BUT the sales were not the same on AF for that time period. Just a fraction of what they were on Etsy. 
  • That 140.92 in profit then has to factor in these things: the times I undercharged on shipping and I had to eat the shipping; the items I sold at clearance just to get them out of the house; cost of materials and time. 
  • I would have to sit down and really figure out the time it takes to create the items sold, and it varies. But for the sake of argument, let's say I sew/craft/work on the business for approximately 4 hours a day. Which is true. I may not be sewing that whole time, but I'm packaging, shipping, creating, promoting, organizing, doing books, etc. That's 24 hours of work a week (6 days a week) for 96 hours for 30 days. So, if I divide 96 into 140 I get about 1.45 an hour I got paid.
  • 1.45. Really?
  • I mean for real, I could work at fast food here and make 8 bucks an hour STARTING pay! (we pay a lot post Katrina).
  • And I haven't even factored in taxes in this equation. I need more vodka before I do that.

So what is one to do about this? Obviously sales went up when I started renewing. Ironically the very item I kept renewing (I renewed the same one to keep it consistent) NEVER EVER SOLD. EH??? So renewing, in theory, seems to equal sales. But at what cost?

Now, granted, I don't do this to roll in the dough. I do it because I like to create, I like to do something JUST for me, I like the online community, I enjoy the challenge and I generally enjoy doing it.

But what if I did NOT like it? I'd be slaving for 1.45 an hour?

So here's my plan:

Continually to occasionally relist. I have built a decent customer base, and there are items I repeatedly sell like my Swiffer pads. I will continue to promote my Artfire shop MORE than my Etsy shop (since I don't pay any fees there and I like AF better. There I said it!) and that is where my domain links to.

I have multiple shops, and those kind of take care of themselves. My soap shop is really more to show to wholesale inquiries because that's how I prefer to sell soap. My flower pens are just there...if they sell, they sell! :) Again, good for wholesale inquiries. My destash shops are a combo of purging my multiplying piles of supplies and of providing decent handmade supplies to other artisans.

Here are my thoughts for other artisans:

  • Use multiple venues to see which fit is right for you.
  • Etsy needs to lay off the damn transaction fees. 3.5% is too high when you sell an item for a high value! If you sell and item for 50.00 you paid 1.75 in a transaction fee, plus listing fee (and how many times did you pay to renew it?) PLUS paypal fees. Sure it SOUNDS like just pennies but when you start to add the up, your profit goes down and down.
  •  Artfire needs to step up the promotion. Sure they are growing, but they need to compete with Etsy. Etsy is still not a household name, although it is growing more and more popular. I have seen it mentioned in magazines at least once per month. Where is Artfire's mentions? I am the first to say that Artfire is doing a fantastic job in keeping sellers happy, making our jobs easier. BUT if we don't have buyers to promote to...what's the point? Etsy has buyers for us but crappy service, crappy favoritism, and admins to laugh at.
  • If you have a big enough customer base, consider just running your own website or domain. Or if you only sell for wholesale purposes, list your items and renew only when absolutely necessary. Then you can keep your Etsy bill low. 
  • Renew responsibly. The item I renewed was my Chalk Cloth bag. Thus far, no one else on Etsy in the first 10 pages of searches has one just like me. They have bags SIMILAR but no one has a lined back made of chalk cloth that holds a pack of chalk and wipe. Is it because of this unique item that I stayed on top? Would this renewal experiment have worked if I sold jewelry? Look at your competition and see what you have that is unique to renew. (but not SO unique no one thinks to search for it.
  • Get on TEAMS! Build your prescence online! Get your name out there!! Build friendships, comradarie and have FUN! If this isn't fun, why are you doing it?
  • Get prepared for competition. As handmade venues grow and grow (and you should also anticipate it might burst at some point) you need to stay current and on top of trends. Sites like Etsy are being touted in magazines as a great way for people to make side money. If you sell jewelry and 100 new jewelry stores open up ever day on Etsy, where does that leave you?
  • Be prepared to step away and say goodbye. If you are going in debt, not enjoying this, and it's stressing you, it is okay to take a break. Put your shops on vacation, take a break, and get back to creating because you LOVE to create, not for the almighty dollar.

I hope this helps some!! Remember to do what you love and love doing it!


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Day One Fail...

Okay. This is sad. I did not even make it through day one!! BUT in my defense, I did not seek out these deals, I received an email from (satan I tell you!) and I had to choose colors for a previous order that was out of stock. WHOA. Totally did not know their vinyl would be on sale. With the help of my enabling friends, (You know who you are!!) I caved. Ok I caved. I bought. But that is enough vinyl to hold me for QUITE some time and it was in HALF OFF SALE plus I had a 20% off coupon!!! COME ON!! You would've done the same thing, don't even lie! we start over AGAIN! I may have to ban myself from the computer to make this work....

WE CAN DO THIS! I think I can, I think I can...

Lord help me ya'll...

Monday, November 30, 2009

31 days of nothing.....

Okay, so perhaps that's a little melodramatic. But as I sit here, ignoring the soon to be arriving credit card bills from my Black Friday shopping, I am inspired.

New challenge for myself for the month of December. No non-essential shopping.

Alright, get it out, laugh. I know, you're thinking surely I can't go that long without buying SOMETHING crafty!

So let's see! I am challenging myself in the month of December to purchase ONLY necessities and pay bills. (Seems the kids to get antsy with no food or heat...) Any bills that arrive, obviously I need to pay them. But all those "just gotta have it" fabric purchases, spontaneous coffee runs, etc--NO!

Can I do it? Could you do it? Perhaps you are wondering if I ate a magic mushroom because surely this challenge cannot happen in the month of DECEMBER!?

Ha-Ha! That is where I've got the angle...I do not celebrate Christmas!! MUAHAHAHHA! So I do not have to purchase presents, trees, decoration! So while much of the world racks up their debt, I am going to challenge myself to NOT rack up any debt and see how much money I can save!!

Who else thinks the husband is going to support this challenge 110%?

So let the games begin tomorrow..December 1st. 31 days of nothing...


And check out the OUS blog for more therapy around supply hoarding/shopping!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday INSANITY!

Wow. It's crazy out there ya'll! Why not skip the madness and shop online? Hundreds of retailers and handmade sellers are ready to hook you up! :) Including moi of course!

40% Off through Monday on all orders of 25 or more at Mama's Little Monkeys on Artfire and Destash City on Artfire. Just use the coupon codes "blackfriday" or "black friday".

Buy 1 get 1 FREE (equal or lesser value) at Mama's Little Monkeys Etsy. WAIT for revised invoice or I can refund via Paypal.

Be sure to check out these great deals from the Cafemom Team and Handmade Louisiana!
Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

I am Thankful.....

  • For healthy children and family
  • For a place to rest my head
  • For a husband who loves me despite my flaws.
  • For a faith so strong that I am comforted even when one thinks I should be lost.
  • For a country that can and will fight it's way back to being what it once was.
  • For the freedom of speech and creativity to do what we love and what we are talented at.
  • For the ability to make my own decisions...if they are wrong, then it's on me.
  • For the smell of coffee brewing...bonus points if it's accompanied by the smell of gluten free cake baking.
  • For Black Fridays Sales---from the comfort of my PJS! (Buy Handmade!!)
  • For my friends near and far, even those I've never met who make life a little easier each day.
  • For the smell of a baby after a bath
  • For a pile of uncut's just so pretty.
  • For America and those who hold it dear.

May you have a safe, happy, healthy and thankFULL thanksgiving!!!


Friday, November 20, 2009

Craft Overload....

So I am 5 days away from completing my Renewal Experiment. I would have to say on the surface it's been a success! I have averaged a sale a day and that is very different for me. The odd thing is, the sales have been in both Mam'a's Little Monkeys, Destash City and a few on Artfire.

So it will remain to be seen with fees, etc how this little experiment worked out. I will also need some time to look at the Google Analytics of it all and see if I can find any answers there. So on the surface it seems to be, renew and you'll make sales.

Hmmm. So why didn't it work in the past? Is it the renewing EVERY day? Is the varying of times? Is it the renewal of the SAME item? I still don't know the answers to this and may not for some time until I look at all the fun filled data but overall I'd have to say it was a success.

I have learned a few things though:
  • I like getting sales. Duh.
  • I need to adjust my prices to cover more of the Paypal and Etsy fees if I continue to sell more on Etsy than on Artfire.
  • International shipping is really damn expensive and I have had to adjust some of those for the Destash shop. I'm sorry it costs 12.80 to ship 1 lb to England but it does. Investigating shipping options through UPS.....
  •  I miss crafting for fun. I have enjoyed being able to get rid of some of my inventory (and let me tell you, there's a lot) but when I returned from my trip and started my journey into minimalism, my goal was to focus less on the shops and more on crafting for me and for fun. Not that I am COMPLAINING about sales because my customers have been fantastic, especially considering TWICE I was out of a fabric I thought I had! I am enjoying the sales, believe you me....but have fallen behind on things I wanted to do for our family!

We shall see how often I continue to renew and what the final verdict of numbers and what not will say. I am preparing for a new Congo of toy makers and am happy to soon have my chalk cloth bags and rocket ships in that, so hopefully that will help move those! :) As usual I have a gazillion things I want to make and no time to do them :) But I don't do the holidays so while everyone else is rushing about prepping for Christmas I can sit back, drink my coffee and sew!


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Supply Rehab...Won't you Join me?

Well, it's official. I've been committed. I am officially in Craft Supply Hoarder Rehab. So I must make an effort to plow through my supplies. Yes, the fabric is pretty. Yes the paper is crisp. But I MUST get through it. Why do I have it if I'm not going to use and enjoy it? Sure I run TWO destash shops to help move some of my obsessions, but really...I have to get busy.

But I don't want to worry about creating for the shops. I don't need to. I have plenty of inventory in all the shops. No, I want to create for me, my friends, my family. I want to create to give away to those who need it more. Create to make someone else smile.

That is my mission for the next few months. I do not celebrate Christmas but I do appreciate the cheer and giving that occurs this time of year. So I am trying to continue my journey into minimalism and focus less on STUFF and on the creation process, and the satisfcation of creating something new.

What will you create today?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Eli's Story

I thought I would take this opportunity to tell my son's story. Of course it is not complete, but hopefully will explain where we are right now.

Eli was born Jan. 23, 2008 (a very strategically planned winter baby--I was NOT evacuating 9 mos pregnant again!) and a welcome addition to our family that also includes big brother Harrison, now age 4. The pregnancy was your typical normal pregnancy and his birth was actually enjoyable, so different from Harrison's very traumatic, long, nearly ending in C-Section, birth.

Eli hit all his developmental milestones just fine, give or take a few weeks, until around 14 mos. He had a few words at 12 months including mama, daddy, kit-kat (cat), milk, more and he also signed more and all done. He was breastfeed until 11 mos, so he never even got a bottle really until 12 mos, so he was late getting off the bottle. He started milk and gluten at 12 mos (we have Celiac Disease in our family so I was hesitant when to start wheat.) and seemed to be fine. Meanwhile his brother was complaining of tummy aches and his own (undiagnosed) sensory issues were still being dealt with.

We noticed around 14-16 mos that Eli had stopped saying the words he WAS saying, stopped signing and wasn't picking up NEW words. He also was suddenly not eating ANYTHING. I mean virtually nothing. I found this very odd because up until 14-16 mos, he ate EVERYTHING I put in front of him and I loved it because Harrison was SUCH a picky eater.

So at his 18 mo visit I addressed my concerns with his pediatrician and for once she didn't blow me off. Having taught Head Start and worked in Early Intervention, I knew what I had to do. I called Early Steps, Louisiana's early intervention service for children under age 3 and scheduled a screening/eval. As I suspected he tested about 6-8 mos behind on his language, slightly behind on social/emotional and slightly behind on fine motor. He also failed the autism screening.

Now, granted the 'cut off' score for the autism screening was 20 and he got 23, but still. It was enough to warrant an evaluation. Of course, Early Steps does not actually COVER the cost of diagnosis and I was advised by a few people to just let it be and let him get the speech and OT Early Steps was suggesting.

But do I normally just do what people say? Not so much.

I knew from my years of teaching that if there was even the slightest chance he DID have autism, we needed to know now and get therapy started immediately. So I did some digging and found a developmental pediatrician, the fantastic Dr. Susan Fielkow at Ochsner and scheduled an eval.

Dr. Fielkow is great and doesn't really do 'scores' on young children, which I appreciate, because someone needs to really look at the whole child to see what's going on. Eli did receive a diagnosis of autism, albeit mild.  Now this is where most people think I'm crazy or a hypochondriac looking for sympathy! They say, "but he looks you in the eye!" "He hugs you!"

Yes he does. He looks ME in the eye and he will look some strangers in the eye. And he hugs ME on HIS terms. Can I pick him up on my own and get snuggles? No, not usually. That usually sets him off. He will play games like Peek a Boo and other baby games, but that's the point, he's behind. If he's hungry, I wouldn't know other than knowing his cries because I am his mother. He does not take my hand and lead me to the fridge, or say hungry, or eat. (Although he IS making strides and does now stand in the kitchen and fuss.)

So yes, at first glance, he looks totally 'normal'...whatever that means anymore. His stims are fewer and farer between since starting therapy and they are not very noticeable--mostly visual stimming with a toy or an inanimate object. Lots of vocal stimming also, whining, crying, strange noises but little real language. He can usually be easily diverted from his repetitions and stimming with some major gross motor pressure, flips and games. He is currently obsessed with circles and loves everything circle! He is a sensory seeker so he loves the wild tossing, flipping and other fun things an OT would do :)

My son has autism. Many children do and there are tons of myths surrounding it. I encourage you to never judge that someone is making something up, or that their child does or doesn't have a certain special need. The faces of autism are drastically different but still adorable and deserving of a chance.

What are we doing for Eli?
At the moment, once a week speech therapy, occupational therapy and special instruction. We're looking into applying for a pilot program for autism therapy through Early Steps because we cannot at this point afford the ABA therapy that would benefit him.
He has also begun the gluten free diet. This is a no brainer due to me having Celiac Disease and Harrison being gluten sensitive. It remains to be seen does Eli REALLY have autism or does he have severe Celiac Disease showing as symptoms of Autism? It doesn't really matter because the treatment is the same for him, Gluten Free diet and therapies.

A recent study in Pediatrics showed that children of mothers with Celiac may be 3 times more likely to have Autism. This does not surprise me at all. The statistics speak for themselves...1 in 150 have Autism, 1 in 133 have Celiac. Do the math.

Many children are helped by the GFCF diet. Some are not. But I feel it is an easy, (mostly) harmless way to help your child. Never start the GFCF diet without professional guidance. Some autistic children are SO picky about food that if you went cold turkey they literally would dehydrate and starve themselves. Go slowly and seek help through professional organizations and your doctor/nutritionist.

My advice for parents who suspect a problem? Don't take no for an answer. Trust your gut. Maybe you're wrong and your kid is just fine. Wouldn't you rather look stupid then wait and find out later there WAS something wrong and you could have helped? You always have the final say in your child's health. Do you want to delay or not do vaccinations? Then do your research and speak your mind. (For the record we do not do shots for personal religious reasons, and Eli still has autism.)

Do you want to try the GFCF diet? Do your research and try it! Do you want to try other biomedical techniques? Again, great, do your OWN research and see what you can do. You are the authority on your child and you know what's normal and not normal for them! I personally vote for trying just about anything once to see if it will help!

I can tell you by now I know what sets Eli off and what makes his symptoms worse. Don't be afraid to be an advocate for your child. No one else will be.

We paid (or will pay) about 1000 dollars for Eli's diagnosis. It was worth every penny. It set my mind at ease, let me know what we were up against and gave me a professional to help give me guidance. So, no Eli is not your 'typical autistic child' (again, whatever THAT is supposed to mean.) but he is who he is and we'll help him learn to be the best he can be.

My child may have autism but autism does not have my child.

Please feel free to share your stories of autism and how you are coping!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

My Little Piece of Heaven is DONE....

So, my journey into minimalism is going well! I have given away probably 100 dollars or more worth of items on and have more to get rid of! We have successfully merged the boys into one room and they LOVE it. I personally enjoy the giggles I hear at nite before they fall asleep. It's hard to go in and remind them to go to sleep when they're so darn cute. By purging their toys they can now appreciate the ones they have. Max the fish is STILL alive and well. (So far!) and my sewing room is nearly complete!! The only things left are to make some nifty wall art for the wall and to get to work!!


I cannot wait to get to work! :)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Baby Einstein Not Make my Kid A Genius, Um What?

So I wake up this morning to this blog:
This blog proves what we've already known...letting your child watch Baby Einstein (BE) won't make them a genius.

Well slap my ass and call my Judy, I'm stunned!!

I mean for REAL!? Come ON! Of COURSE sitting your child in front of a television won't make them a genius!! Now, in defense of Baby Einstein, they say to use their products right you should 'Sit with your child' and interact with them, repeating the words, making music, etc.
Yeah, that's what I do with BE movies.

No, let's be real. If I wanted to sit and interact with my child--which I do for a good part of the day, I wouldn't need a TV. They have these mystical things called BOOKS, ART, and OUTSIDE that I can do that in.

So let's just put it out there...what do we really use BE for? A BABYSITTER! We use it so we can get 30 minutes of peace to check our email, paint our toes, sip our coffee, pay the bills or whatever you need to do. Is it the best educational choice for your child at THAT moment? Maybe not. But you know what's WORSE for a child's development? A mom who's about to lose it and may do something she regrets or a mom who loses herself in her job as Mommy and doesn't take time to be the woman she was before kids.
Part of our job as a parent is to teach our children to entertain themselves! I believe television and computers can be a HEALTHY part of that when done in moderation. According to the A.C. Nielsen Co., the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV each day. How can we really expect our kids to NOT watch the occassional television when we are glued to it?

I am in no way upset with BE, I never in my wildest dreams thought the movies would teach my child things I could not teach them. I never thought they'd make my child a genius and I have nothing but respect for Julie ingenius mom who found a way to help moms and make a life for herself and her kids. Sure its for profit---HELLO This is the MOMENT we still have Capitalism!! And should!

I know I can teach my kids the alphabet, and I will. BUt sometimes a Mommy needs a break and BE movies can be that for you. Should your 1 yr old watch them all day long? No, that would be silly.But you know what, BE movies are more than that in our house. They are therapy. When my autistic child is super upset...guess what calms him down enough to come back to therapy or interacting? Baby Einstein.
So, sure you idiots, no BE doesn't make your kids geniuses. But save your tarring and feathering for something else.

I've got a Baby Noah to watch...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Renewing Experiment

So, I have a bit of a cold/flu thing this weekend and in my dayquil induced stupor, I pondered an idea. As my old buddy Rockerchic did once upon a time, and in an effort for an idea for an upcoming article for Handmade News, I would start the Great Renewal Experiement. (Nifty title still in the works.)

My plan: On my Etsy shop, I would spend the next 30 days renewing ONE particular item. I may renew other items if they are about to expire..I may not. (I just renewed some things ABOUT To expire.) So today is day one. The item in question which I shall renew EVERY DAY is: My Chalk Cloth Bag. At this time, Oct. 25th, when you search "chalk cloth bag" on you find 27 results. 10 of which are not mine. The other 17 are either my finished Chalk Cloth bags, or the pattern/DIY Kit I have for sale in my Destash shop. And of the 10 that are NOT mine, none look like mine. So I think this is good, it seems I have a unique item on a venue that is increasingly becoming NOT unique.
Now while I realize google searches are days old, so anything I renew, I won't see the effects of for some time, I also just searched google for "chalk cloth bag". Of the 457,000 results, on the front page, my DIY kit on ARTFIRE ranks number one. My etsy listings? Zilch on the first three pages which in Googleland means I won't be found because no one really looks past the first two pages.

So, the point? Well, it appears I have a unique item that if someone actually searched chalk cloth on Etsy, they would reasonably find me if I renewed every day right? So we shall see...DOES renewing every day actually get you sales? And at what cost? I will break down what this item costs me to make then factor in all the relisting and selling fees if it sells. I'll try not to be to boring but want to be accurate also.

So let the renewing madness begin...


Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Journey Into Minimalism Part Two

So, I am still on this journey to find my home. No, I'm not wandering the streets of my town lost, but I am still in the process of purging, cleaning, organizing and finding the HOME in my house.

The week in the cabin spurned an awakening inside me, causing me to immensely need to purge our belongings, for fear we'd end up on some reality show buried under toys.

Okay, so I'm actually not really a hoarder (I even share my fabric--ok I sell it..sorry no free fabric.) But we are a small family of four in a house full of CRAP. I don't even know how it got here. I know much of it was given, and as said in my last post, I'm not one to go endlessly shopping for new and pretty things. (except fabric). But I digress.

I have made some progress. Much has been given away on Freecycle and Freeuse, and some given to friends. But the pile behind my sofa is still HUGE. I've contemplated lugging it to the local resell stores, but really? I am a busy mother of two, and much of the pile is nonsense. Now there are some things I'll bring over there that could probably bring me a few bucks and that's fine. But most of it....back to we go!

What spurned this second round? My kitchen. I hate my kitchen. I despise my kitchen. NOW, this really sucks bc the kitchen is what SOLD this house to us. Its HUGE (ok in my definitions its huge). Large enough for an island and a 6 person table.

However, thanks to my handy little sewing habit, half my kitchen is comprised of computer armoire, sewing machine, shelves (full of sewing crap) and the cute little desk where I pay my bills--which would be fine, if boxes of OLD bills didn't surround it.

And as large as my kitchen is, the set up is crappy. Bad cabinet space, layout etc. (But I did not know these things when I was a house buying virgin 4 years ago.) Still, I COULD love my kitchen....if I got it back from the pile o' fabric, bobbins and rulers.

Thus leads us to--"The Great Kid Blending of 09". The kids rooms are your average size rooms, right? So WHY is it so hard to put two kids in one room? I mean they're under 4 feet tall, what the hell? Well, I've learned, it's because my kids have TOO MUCH FREAKIN CRAP! Again, we reference the in-laws for this one. Although I am VERY grateful to have my in-laws around and their gift giving is great, I have to STORE this stuff somewhere.

And I've also learned something else--inevitably, whatever you THINK a 4 year old might like and you purchase for him...he will not like it after a week. It just becomes another THING in his room. How can a child TRULY appreciate what they own when there is SO MUCH OF IT?

I also learned when your child has autism, they are not necessarily playing with toys appropriate for their age. Nor often do they even give a rat's arse ABOUT toys. My son wants circles. Lots and lots of circles. Sure, I keep age appropriate and developmentally appropriate toys around, but he could care less. He wants his damn circles and you best step back when you try to take them.

Sooooo, I decided it was time to merge the boys into one room. They handled it beautifully in our week at the cabin, why not give it a go at home?

Then I learned the crib didn't fit through the door. You have to take it apart. Insert expletive here. So said child is sleeping in his pack n play whilst I brainstorm a plan. (Not sure crib can survive another taking apart--this is the 4th kid it's been through.) Meanwhile progress is slowly being made--no pictures, it's too shameful to see right now.

And whilst I'm ranting, (I Love whilst. Its my favorite word other than "chocolate"). Let me address something. I have already received the "How can you make them share a room?" comment from several folks. To that I say, Shut the hell up. I mean, seriously...these kid have more toys, games, clothes, STUFF than I ever had and I was the most spoiled little poor girl you would ever meet. (Don't ask, long story, ask my sister.) They are not hurting for a darn thing. Personally I feel this: Mommy and Daddy pay the mortgage, Mommy and Daddy deserve a room to sew and play guitar without sweating it out in the kitchen or garage.

Then there's this idea....Eli has autism, it's no secret. But he's blessed with a big brother. Now while Harrison has his own sensory issues, I'd like to think they can be friends one day. I'd like to think them sharing a room will help them learn to WORK TOGETHER, SOLVE PROBLEMS, and APPRECIATE each other.

And if it doesn't, well I've got duct tape to draw the line down the middle of the room ready.


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My Journey Into Minimalism--Part One

I have recently returned from a week long church trip that involved my family spending the week in a cabin. This is as close to nature and camping as I like to get, with a full bathroom, kitchen and air conditioning. I dislike bugs very much, I learned.

I also learned I dislike the CLUTTER in my home. The minimalism of the cabin and the lack of television left me to reflect on what things I could change in my own home. We're a small family, hubs, myself, and two boys, yet SOMEHOW we've created this house full of CRAP. Much of it was given to us by my mother in law who buys the boys presents a lot. She's not spendy, she can bleed a dollar from a dime, so she gets great deals, but STILL! There are only so many toys a child can play with.

I admit I'm a former shop-a-holic. Growing up poor, once I graduated college and had a real income, I had to teach myself I didn't really need everything I wanted! My husband is a penny pincher like his mom so he balances me out and has taught me a lot.

Generally as a family we don't purchase much of anything new. Clothes shopping is maybe only twice a year. Furniture is only when it's so worn out you might injure yourself on it. Both our televisions were given to us, and we're not the huge plasma screen kind of people anyways. 

My one indulgence is my fabric and supplies. But even those I buy on sale. Of course I buy TOO MANY but still.

So here we have, a husband who never buys anything, a wife who buys too many supplies and then has too much inventory for her shops and has to STORE it somewhere, and two kids who get WAY too many gifts. Shove us all into a 3 bedroom house that should be plenty big.

Alas, it is not.

So, after a week of seeing how possible is it was to live with less stuff, I come home with a mission. As I unpacked from the trip I would also PURGE. And I mean REALLY purge. Not that half assed purge I do when I destash my fabric. (Alarmingly, the fabric you see in my Destash Shop is merely the tip of the iceberg.)

I started in the kitchen and worked my way around the house. Virtually everything is done except the sewing/work corner of the kitchen and the garage. Those two parts may require massive amounts of vodka to complete. Much got thrown away, and even MORE is in a pile to giveaway or sell.

I managed to fit all my inventory and supplies IN closets instead of in boxes behind my sofa. Now in its place is an enormous pile of toys/baby items to take to our local Once Upon a Child. Whatever doesn't sell, will get gifted to freecycle, freeuse and craigslist.'s bad.

Everything in that pic is going except the brown toybox way yonder by the window.

Then there are the clothes.

That is one tote, one laundry basket and three bags of clothing just in boys size 3 mos-18 mos!

I didn't even take a pic of all the stuff by the front door that is hopefully soon going to be on!

Once the purging is complete I will take pics of my nice, clean pretty house.

This could take awhile.............


Monday, October 12, 2009

I hear crickets...

I am back....from the woods.
Only killed 1 roach and 2 spiders...

Will be back soon to report much more, complete with pics :)

Sleepy time now...

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A Camping We Will Go....

Okay, so perhaps camping is a term used loosely in my home. My version of camping involves a cabin with air conditioning, heat, fully equipped kitchen, baths and nice big beds. Sure, call me a wuss, I don't care.

It is time once again for my annual pilgrimege away from home. I'll not bore you with religious details, but once per year, around fall time (dates are set by the Hebrew calendar) we leave our homes to go to an appointed place (decided by our ministers) and dwell in 'booths'. This is the Feast of Tabernacles. Times have changed, we don't actually dwell in 'booths' now, although if you wanted to you could. But the point is to leave your home for 8 days and meet with fellow brethren, and live a life that pictures what God's kingdom will be like.

Okay enough religious talk...I've probably bored you or confused the heck out of you. Google it, you're on your own.

Whilst I look forward to this trip EVERY year with avenegence (we call it "The Feast" for short), and Harrison has learned to get excited can't help but notice it is MOM who gets everything ready. Short of doing repairs on the cars and picking up the heaviest of is I who must gather, launder, pack, prep, purchase, organize and just make it all happen. (I see Tim Gunn in my head as I do this....."shoving one week's worth of toddler clothes into a tiny bag? Make it work!")

But Mommy puts on her mommy cap and gets it done. Despite not feeling her best (what mommy really gets a day off when she's fighting off a cold?) Mommy gets it done....eventually.

So, I shall likely disappear come Thursday into the vortex of packing. Thankfully things are already laundered and I only need to pack and prep our grocery list of things to buy upon our arrival. We are REALLY excited about the cabin because until this year we've always had tos tay in hotels. Now when you're a kid, hotels are FREAKING AWESOME. Not so much when you're a grown lady sharing it with a preschooler and a toddler who do NOT sleep in. So we are very, very, very happy at the prospect of the boys IN THEIR OWN ROOM. Sigh. Ahhhh. Relax with me now. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Sure they'll awake at dawn probably but after 8-9pm, they'll be in THEIR room and the hubs and I can relax, retire and enjoy each other in the quiet peace of the woods.

Woods....I probably should've read a field guide or something concerning the woods...... despite my growing up the daughter of the countriest of all country men...I am totally useless in the woods. Seriously, I'd probably be bear meat in an instant. I sure hope there are park rangers.....

My rambling point is this....I will miss you my faithful readers (and those who keep forgetting to unsubscribe and don't really want this drivel in their inbox) and my dear online friends. Come Friday afternoon at 3pmish, I am OUTTA HERE! (Please don't come rob  me though, my doggy has trouble digesting large body parts and we can't afford the vet bill.)

I want ya'll to behave yourselves, revel in the changing seasons and enjoy life!!

Because I'll be back to torment you on the 12th---and may check in on occassion when we venture to civilization...pretty sure there's no wifi in the woods.....

Peace, love and chicken grease!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Happy Birthday Harrison

Confidential to my big boy (who will always be my baby)...
Happy Birthday! The Big 0-4!!

Love ya man!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Blast Off!

Shameless self promotion alert....

I just think this is perty darn nifty and I'm proud of it :)

Mini Rocket Ship--Mama Rocket available also!
Listed on both Etsy and Artfire, and customizations available!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Oops, been awhile..

So I fell off the blogging wagon again... Ok so it's only been 8 days but that's a long time in blog world! :) Life has been a tad busy the past week or so.

For starters, my youngest son Eli, was diagnosed with autism. Mild, but still. I was not surprised,but now I must refocus my life and work on helping him overcome this. While this is not a post to debate the ins and outs of autism, I personally do believe autism is a neurological autoimmune disease greatly affected by several factors including, genetics, vaccinations, toxins, environment and pure blind luck. I also firmly believe in the power of healing and God, and trust that I will work my tookus off to save my baby. In the one week on the gluten free diet, he's already uttered mama, which is a word I've not heard in months.

We are also going out of town for a bit in October so I need to prepare for that, and also get ready for some possible craft shows in the coming months.

My life is always mommy first, handmade artisan second, but I'll do my best to keep up!


Friday, September 11, 2009

Sisterhood of the Traveling Sock Monkeys

Some sock monkey friends and I were chatting and we decided to create our Sisterhood of the Traveling Sock Monkeys. I purchased three pairs of the same socks, sent them to my lovely friends Crystal and Rebecca and we got to sewing! Our goal was to show that although many handmade artisans can make the same thing, everyone is unique and every artisans deserves respect!
So I give you, the Sisterhood of the Traveling Sock Monkeys:
I created Thelma, a sweet older monkey who enjoys reading.
Crystal created Brenda, a beautiful dancing monkey!
And Rebecca created Rosalyn, a snow loving monkey!
Won't you give these super cute monkeys a home? The sisters are sweet monkeys, we promise. Just watch your bananas....

Thursday, September 3, 2009

40% Off Sale at Mama's Little Monkeys!???? WHAT?

YUP! I am having a "Harrison is allergic to cats and we really should replace the carpets" Sale. Also known as, "Labor Day Sale". :)

So until Sept 8th, EVERYTHING at Mama's Little Monkeys on Artfire is 40% off! Why only on Artfire? Because Artfire allows us to DO sales like this easily!! And if you followed me on Twitter, Plurk or Cafemom, You'd know about other special coupon codes for EVEN MORE off!!

So snag it now! Some items are mere 1-2 dollars!!

Through Sept 8th ONLY!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

My Top Ten Songs

These are my (current) top ten favorite songs. What are yours?
(Songs link to the videos when I could find them) :)

Honorary Mention:
 "Movin' On"  by Rascal Flatts I loved country very much once upon a time, and still like many country songs...and I think even an non country fan can appreciate this song.

10. "Goodbye to Love" by The Carpenters-- So sad, soulful, and unlike their normal bubbly tunes.

9. "Woman in Chains" by Tears for Fears--Hard to pick just one, but this one is the best.

8. "Nothing Compares 2 U" by Sinead O'Connor Yes, I know Prince wrote and originally performed this song. He is a rock God. But her version is such a symbol of my pre-teen--teenage years. That video is burned in my brain. And she's so raw in this song.

7. "Tears" by Rush My husband LOVES Rush. Like the way I love Amos Lee. And most of their songs are eh for me because I don't so much care for hair rock. But this song is amazing.

6. "And So It Goes" by Billy Joel Really? Pick one Billy Joel song? Too hard.

5. "Wait" by Benjy Davis Project This band is so young, yet so wise, and the lyrics to this song is a fantastic story.

4. "Vultures" by John Mayer. Not one of his more popular songs but awesome.

3. "Must be the Water" by Marc Broussard. A very Louisiana song with soul and booty shaking.

2. "Black River" by Amos Lee. Song writing at it's finest.

1. "Imagine" by John Lennon. Does it really get better than that?
1. (1st place Tie) "Oh My Love" by John Lennon. He is and always will be the best songwriter ever.

What are YOUR top ten favorite songs?

Hope you enjoy mine!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fabricholics---Allow me to be your pimp...

I have too much fabric. Yes. It IS true. It is possible. I know, I know, WHAT? How can one have TOO much fabric???

But alas, I do! (With more on the way!)

So I have started my own Destash shops both on Etsy and Artfire!

Come check it out and allow me to be your fabric pimp! :)

Friday, August 21, 2009

What the Baby Books Don't Tell You.

Life has been insane as a mommy lately due to circumstances beyond my control. Here are some things I've learned thus far in my 4 years as a mommy.

1. Whatever you planned to happen--chuck it.

2. Your child will take off a poopy diaper at some point. Be ready.

3. Sex? No thanks. Hand me the comforter, hot stuff.

4. You will get lots of unsolicited advice. Take it, some of it may work.

5. You will get lots of unsolicited advice. What you don't take---learn to say, "feel free to take the monsters if you can do better."

6. You cannot blame farts on your kid once they start talking.

7. Once you breastfeed, you appreciate breasts on a whole new level. So will your husband. Particularly when you wean.

8. There actually ARE worse pains than UNMEDICATED, INDUCED childbirth. Leaking spinal fluid is one.

9. Things you previously didn't care about, like health care, politics, education, suddenly become very important. And you suddenly feel very nervous, scared and vomit a little knowing there really isn't a damn thing you can do about most of it.

10. When in doubt..get out some bubble wrap. Kids love it. (Just don't leave em alone with it.)

11. You can watch old Sesame Streets and pretend it's for the kids.

12. You dream about murdering Elmo and telling your child Elmo had an 'incident'.

13. You will literally knock out a 300 lb nurse if need be when your child is in pain.

14. You respect your husband and your mother a helluva a lot more.

15. You make up stupid songs to do stupid things. Whatever makes your kid smile. "Who has a poopy?" Sounds way more fun to your kid if you sing it.

16. Feel free to criticize another parents choice in hot topics (breastfeeding, circumcision, vaccinations,) but be FULLY prepared to back up YOUR side and don't berate the other parent. Also be ready for a hearty slap. You probably deserved it.

17. You can buy your kid all the organic food in the world and feed your kids 100% healthy. But let the kid have some FUN for crying out loud.

18. You will say these words way more than you ever wanted to: breasts, testicles, mucous, poop, placenta, and snot. Get used to it.

19. You should always, always choose the nap. It does not matter the options.

20. Remember to do something for YOU. Also remember it may fall to heck as soon as a mini you needs something.

Last but not least, remember children are the greatest gift God can give us and it is up to us to respect, love, honor and care for our children.

Now get off the computer and go hug your kids.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Semi Wordless Wednesday

In honor of my sister coming home from Seattle to New Orleans to hopefully soon meet two new granddaughters.

From RainwolfStudios

And from savoiefairephoto

And for our soon to be here baby girls, Sophie and Kenzy....more cute babies ! :)
From AllThingsBelle

From Swifferkins

Can't wait til my sister is back home and the baby girls are HERE! :)


**All images are copyright of the artisan. Please respect their quality work and PURCHASE the items from THEIR shops if you are drawn to them!

Monday, August 17, 2009

MOM ATTACK!! Cafemommers ATTACK!

Every two weeks, the Cafemom Street Team chooses a worthy Cafemommer and ATTACKS their shop(s)! Why do we do this?

Well, because Cafemommers ROCK of course!! We have some of the BEST artisans on Etsy, Artfire, and MORE and we're proud of it! Our members deserve some props so each week admins choose a member who fits several criteria including, supporting team members, participation, and of course all around awesomeness!

This week the lucky attack victim is CELYN, from CosmicCleanBody, GlazedUponGlass, and HandmadebyCelyn. Celyn has been a member of the Cafemom Street Team since October 2007 and is always there for other moms. I like to call her one of our sensible ones :) She's supportive, funny, creative and happy! Celyn has personally been fantastically kind to me when I began learning to make soap and she even collaborates with me to make my handmade laundry detergent! I use her awesome Cold Process soap in it!

Celyn is a great Cafemommer and I'm proud to encourage everyone to visit her shops and find something unique for you! She surely has SOMETHING you can use!

So Everyone ATTACK!!!



Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Get ready for some cool gifts!

Alas, despite the summer heat down here, it is indeed approaching the biggest shopping season of the year! Now, personally, I do not actually celebrate Christmas but am more than happy to provide lots of shopping for everyone else :) I also love to stalk the sales and see what's up for grabs during the holiday season!

Times are tough, money is tight. So perhaps it is more your idea this year to find one, good, meaningful, unique gift for your special someones? If that's you, keep reading because you can find lots of unique gifts on from thousands of talented artisans. The coolest thing is you can search from various gift guides to fit your needs! And because searches are random, you'll likely find something new each time you search!!

Here are some of MY faves!

Funky, unique magnets by PicardCreative.

Fantastic Baby Items in awesome colors and prints from a Louisiana resident,

Fabulous cupcake soaps--do not eat, Norma is not responsible for your butt bubbles!!

Or maybe you want to get ready for fall now with this awesome handmade leaf bowl from Harmon Art!

No matter what you're looking for, search the Artfire Gift Guides for all your gifts in ANY season!! :)

Of course, if you'd like to purchase from MY Lovely shops I can be found in a few gift guides myself :)


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Trip to Sams--A Comedy of Errors

Setting: Hot, sweaty, southern Louisiana
Time: Mid Morning (5 o'clock somewhere)
Characters: Tired Mommy, almost 4 yr old know it all and barely lingual 18 mo old.

Scene One:
Mommy realizes she needs food. Now. As well as business supplies to fulfill an order. Planned trip to Evil Empire tomorrow with PawPaw is too far away. Bacon is needed. Now.

Mommy pries children from electronic devices, fills her trusty reusable water bottle with water, throws Goldfish in her handmade reusable snack bag and loads monkeys into car. Hot, hot car.

Family jams to Amos Lee on short ride there, monkeys are peaceful.

Scene Two:
Arrival at Sams, aka, the inner circle of hell.
Mommy loads screaming toddler into basket, clueless to the reason for his screams. Mommy nearly throws back out sticking nearly 4 yr old in the dual seat of the super handy Sam's buggy/cart/whatever you call it because he MUST ride with baby brother.

Whilst Mommy throws back out, toddler throws reusable water bottle on the concrete, thus busting open the top and spilling the water all over the ground leaving us with nothing to drink. Toddler then gets mad there is no more water. Doesn't understand Mommy's explanation of who's fault THAT is.

Mommies ovaries shrink a little more during this conversation.

Scene Three:
Mommy manages to find Sam's Card and enters the air conditioned heaven/hell of Sam's Club. Monkeys are at peace munching on colored goldfish (mommy's last 'splurge' as the monkeys normally must eat the whole wheat goldfish). Business supplies are bought, Mommy happily finds a Glen Beck and Dick Morris book and snaps them up with the illusion that she'll actually get to READ said books at night before passing out.

Scene Four:
A lizard is spotted on a buggy near the bread. Mommy pushes thoughts of sanitation departments out of her head and enjoys the moment of discussing with the nearly 4 yr old that the lizard is shopping! Whatever could a lizard be shopping for? Cookies, it's decided...which Mommy also adds to her basket. Goodbyes are said to lizard.

Scene Five:
Barely lingual toddler spots the cookies in the buggy. Excited that he appropriately says, "More", Mommy allows monkeys to partake of chocolate chip cookie. Toddler promptly ruins outfit that had only been worn less than an hour. Mommy visualizes the never ending pile of laundry and notes appointment for hearing screening in the afternoon for toddler, so costume change will be necessary. Mommy mentally notes cloth diapers need washing as well....dishes need to be unloaded....

On plus side, nearly 4 yr old is well adapt at eating gooey cookies in 30 seconds flat and leaves no crumbs behind.

Scene Six:
Shopping is nearly done, Mommy bravely ignores the liquor aisle and heads onward. Nearly 4 yr old has not lost his handmade stuffed bird OR Slinky the entire trip. Toddler is chocolately but not screaming his head off and is again obsessively playing with his shoes. (Mommy makes mental note to mention shoe obsession during toddler's evaluation.)
Checkout lines are small and check out is somewhat speedy.

Scene Seven:
Mommy's credit card is denied. Twice. Another card is tried. Denied. Twice. Visions of identity theft run through Mommy's head. Mommy is forced to put purchases on debit cards, which would not be a problem except this purchase also included the Sam's renewal/selling your soul to the devil/charge and the bill is far higher than anticipated. Mommy is thankful Daddy gets paid tomorrow.

Nearly 4 yr old begs for Icee. Seeing he has wrapped his slinky through and around the cart in a very yoga like fashion, Mommy denies request for icee. Toddler becomes angry at shoes and starts to scream. Apparently the shoes are not listening to toddler's king like demands.

Elderly people behind Mommy begin to shoot dirty looks. Mommy is too busy wiping off chocolate, trying 8 different credit cards and denying Icee requests to tell elderly people they are MORE than welcome to take the monkeys for a day if they can do it better.

Scene Eight:
Almost out the door! Shoes are dropped, handmade stuffed bird named Scout is suffocating under boxes, Mommy waits her turn for the all powerful Green Highlighter Holder to mark her paper that states she is allowed to leave the chambers of hell. All hail the green highlighter. Mommy ponders if there are different levels of power in the highlighter, each color means a new level of Satanic power?

Scene Nine:
Mommy manages to load groceries in the trunk despite the fact that Daddy has yet again left the pack and play in the trunk after a trip. Mommy shoves, amazingly fixes her own back that she ironically threw out upon first arrival, by shoving a ginormous box of baby wipes in trunk. Still angry at the shoes toddler is safely secured in his seat, and slinky is extricated from the buggy, and four year old is secure in his seat. The journey home begins.
Mommy nearly wipes out an old lady in the parking lot, hopes she's not on her 8th life.

Mommy explains yet again the rule for Popsicles (after nap) and explains AGAIN what will happen after nap.

All in all, trip to hell complete with only minimal damage, a little science lesson on lizards and only one curse word said by Mommy.

Mommy only glances at the drive through daiquiri shop on the way home.

This time.

The End.


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